The East is Red - 东方红 (Dongfang Hong)
A song and dance epic produced by the People's Republic of China on the cusp of the Cultural Revolution. "What sort of film would have resulted if, in the mid 1960s, Busby Berkeley, fresh from his gig on 'Jumbo', had been invited by none other than Chairman Mao to realize a project styled 'a song and dance epic', for the benefit of the entire People's Republic of China to digest as a picture show entertainment? Something flashy, but with a message. Something to enliven and uplift the people in ways that even the 'Little Red Book' could not achieve. Well, Buzz never took up the 'offer', but the film which emerged, 'Dongfang Hong' (aka 'The East is Red') certainly ranks as one of the most impressive musicals ever made, despite being buried in obscurity. Film critic Elvis Mitchell, upon seeing clips of 'Dongfang', thought first of Vincente Minelli as far as style is concerned. It's true, there's more of 'An American in Paris' here than '42nd Street', but that's where the film's message comes in: wow the people."
Run time 117 minutesSponsor People's Republic of ChinaAudio/Visual sound, colorLanguage Mandarin Chinese
In Mandarin Chinese with Chinese and English subtitles
July 26, 2012
Cult of personality on overdrive. Colorful in the extreme. Highly stylized dance. A cast of hundreds (including the off-stage chorus). Busby Berkeley could have done it better. (He certainly would have improved the costumes!) Nevertheless, and regardless of its hammer-blow political message, this Cultural Revolution blockbuster is truly spectacular.
Good widescreen video. Good audio. Be sure to download parts 1 and 2.
November 20, 2009
Forget that: this is a pr film to glorify the revolution & mao, the music is semi-chinese so somewhat atonal to the western ear (think chinese souza). Realize that: 1. at this time many han were proud of their revolution. 2.busby never had a troop this tight. There's a cadre of about 40 women who are grace personified- i've only caught 2 (minor) mistakes so far. If you appreciate elegant athleticism & polished choreography enjoy this- i got the 512 & found it fine- be sure to get both parts..
August 27, 2008
If you need a good laugh, this is it. One of the very best unintentional comedies ever filmed.